Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tea Cup Trade: A Meaningful Gift!

 Last month, I participated in a really fun Tea Cup Trade over at Faith, Hope and Cherrytea!  I was paired up with the talented and creative Miss Sue Flay of The Secluded Tea Party.  I thought it would be so fun to trade with someone from the UK...and it was!

As soon as Miss Sue told me she'd put my package in the mail, I was on needles and pins each day to see what surprises were in store for me!  I was not at all disappointed!
One day, a brown, square box came for me---it was my gift!!

I definitely took my time opening it up...removing each bit of tape from the box...  Inside was the cutest little Japanese miniature tea set!  I just love the look on the little guy's face! (click on the picture to enlarge)  She'd also included some delicious White Tea, as well as some recipes for a few of her treats that she makes for her guests during her Secluded Tea Parties.  I think I'll make a couple of those treats, put on a mini-tea party for my girls, and do a follow-up post to show Miss Sue how much I appreciate her! I was extra excited to receive a Japanese set as I had, just the day before, won an auction for a painting of a Japanese geisha.  I've got a great little vignette in mind! 

Thank you so much Miss Sue for the lovely and thoughtful gift! 

AND... As if her generosity wasn't enough already, she even featured the gifts I sent her at her latest Secluded Tea Party---a book-themed party!  If anyone is interested in reading about Miss Sue Flay's Secluded Tea Party events, or to see what I sent her in our trade, please visit her here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Super Easy Petits Fours

My recipe for Easy Petits Fours is, by far, my most popular post. I have people coming to that post every single day! So, here you go!

When you're done reading the recipe, please make sure and read about my blogging friend, Cindy at Blessings From Cindy, and the gorgeous craft idea she came up with! Her Craft Blotter is so easy---you could make one today for a Christmas gift---and make one tomorrow for yourself!

For several years, I would make these really easy petits fours for different church functions. Here's how you can make a simple petit four with basic ingredients and supplies you likely have on hand.

 Begin with a boxed Pound Cake mix and the ingredients mentioned on the back (eggs, water, etc.)  You will also need a package of vanilla almond bark and food coloring if desired.

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  I like to spray the pan with nonstick spray or water first to help the paper stick to the pan and not roll up.  Mix your cake ingredients according to the directions on the box, spread batter into pan, and bake at 350 for 15-20 min. or until done and lightly golden brown.  

Let the cake cool completely and then cut it into squares with a sharp knife.  You will likely not cut into the parchment paper but if you are concerned about that you can turn the cake out onto a cutting board and remove the paper first.  Pound Cake is very easy to cut into nice squares thus eliminating the need for an actual petit four pan.

When cake is completely cooled, break half the package of almond bark into a bowl and microwave at 30 sec. intervals, stirring in-between.  I like to add some oil or shortening too to make dipping easier.  When it is completely melted, you can mix in some food coloring if you'd like.

Using a fork, dip the cake into the coating to cover it completely.  The coating gets thicker as it cools so you may find yourself having to spoon the coating onto the cake and then tap the excess off on the side of your bowl.  Transfer the coated petit four to wax or parchment paper.

If you desire a decoration on top, add it as soon as you place the cake on the paper to cool.  Almond Bark sets up pretty quickly and you want your decoration to stick.  I found these pearly candies at Target in the Easter section.

Once the coating has hardened, you are all done!  I got several compliments on these today from my homeschooling mom friends!  In the past, I've taken the time to fill them with jelly or frosting.  This makes for a much taller petit four, but one could always cut the cake in half before filling---although this will make it less stable as the cake will be pretty thin.  Have fun making these and make sure to send me pictures of your own creations!

Make sure and visit Cindy's blog, Blessings from Cindy to learn how to make this adorable Craft Blotter:

   Cindy's instructions are super easy and the project is made from things you probably already have around the home! Thank you, Cindy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Mom, When Can I Get Married?" Part One

Lynzie has just turned 11 and has begun asking questions about marriage.  She wants to know how old she has to be before she can get married.  I keep answering, "It's not an age, it's a level of readiness."  I've told her she must be done with her basic schooling (through high school level), she must be prepared to manage a home and a budget, she must have basic knowledge of childcare.  I've also talked to her about the readiness of her husband-to-be:  he needs to have a job that will support their basic needs, must be able to provide a reliable means of getting them where they need to go, etc.  

Today I became aware that she's already got a man in mind!  From what I've seen, this young man shows promise---he reminds me of my husband, for starters!  It occurred to me today that I've not really talked to her about spiritual readiness---the most important part of being married!  So, we went on to discuss how important it is that she pray for her future husband---in a general sense.  I encouraged her not to pray for this specific boy in a way that indicated she was set on him, but instead to pray for "whomever God has planned" for her.   I encouraged her to focus on having a good friendship with the boy but not to think of him as her future spouse---at least not yet!  Wow, I totally can't believe I'm having this conversation with her already!

So, with all that in mind, I realized I really need to get into the Word and see what all God has to say about a wife.   I've only been one for 13 years so I've got a lot to learn myself---and here I am already needing to train my daughter.  Whew!

Genesis 2:24:  "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."

A wife needs to be prepared to become one with her husband.  This requires coming out from under the protection and discipline of her parents and coming under the protection of her husband, standing beside him as his helper, comforter, lover and support, and taking the lead role in homemaking and mothering responsibilities.  A wife should be prepared to make decisions alongside her husband and to consider his desires, preferences and feelings when making choices regarding areas in which he has given her responsibility.  

Part of being one with one's husband is working as a team and making compromises and concessions where needed.  One thing I always try to practice in my marriage is the truth that if my priority is always my husband and his priority is always me, then both of us are taken care of and neither finds themselves being selfish.

While it's always ideal that the new couple's parents agree and support this "leaving and cleaving", that is, unfortunately, not always the case.  The new wife, as well as her husband, should be prepared and mature enough to respectfully remind the offending parents of this verse and be in agreement that their parents won't be allowed to become stumbling blocks in the early days of marriage.

While a loving parent is almost always full of valuable wisdom that a newlywed can surely learn from, it's important that the new husband and wife make final decisions on their own, based on what they have heard from God and what they believe is right for their own situation.

Someone remind my controlling self of this in another 7 or 8 years, please?  Ha!
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